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Sixers-Hawks Preview: The First (Without) Joel

The Philadelphia 76ers will probably miss a few beats with Joel Embiid on the shelf, but they should still handle a dreadful Atlanta Hawks team.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers played a basketball game, Markelle Fultz and Joel Embiid met shoulder-to-head with the latter taking the brunt of the collision.

After roughly 24 hours of various unsubstantiated reports (including one that said that Embiid’s “eye was kinda caved in”), we found out the extent of the damage last night.

Brett Brown’s club is 3-8 this season without its All-Star center in the lineup, so this news is... less than ideal. However, there aren’t many world beaters left on the Sixers remaining slate, so securing homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs isn’t completely out of the question.

Life without Embiid begins tonight as the 76ers head down to Atlanta to race Michael Vick outside of a strip club take on the Hawks. The same Atlanta Hawks who gave up FIFTY-SIX points to Karl-Anthony Towns literally hours after the Minnesota Timberwolves center stayed up late to play something called “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” with Ben Simmons.

The Sixers and Hawks have only met once so far this season, and it was so long ago (November 1), Jerryd Bayless logged 31 minutes, Jim Adair wrote the recap, Meek Mill was still free (and at the game!), and Jahlil Okafor was still here. Robert Covington (22 points) led the 76ers in scoring as the team pulled away late for a 119-109 victory.

Dennis Schroder paced everyone with 25 points, but he’s doubtful for tonight’s game with an ankle injury. So without Schroder and Kent Bazemore (out for the season with a bone bruise), things aren’t looking too peachy for a Hawks team that’s lost 10 of its last 11.

Tonight, we’ll learn how the Sixers plan to divvy up the minutes at the 5 spot without Embiid, but given what Towns did the other night, it might not matter all that much who plays center.

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